Truth

Questions directed to the Star of Azazel.
thelostcoin
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Truth

Postby thelostcoin » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:21 pm

You list 'truth' highly on your list of principles. I had a question about the relationship between religion and truth.

As science describes more and more of the world, the truths from a scientific perspective are growing. Do these truths leave the realm of religion? Or is religion the combination of the scientific truths and the current set of 'unknowable truths' that are the traditional realm of religion? To further that idea is the perfect religion the complete proven explanation of everything that exists (science complete)?
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Re: Truth

Postby Wyrmfang » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:42 am

An excellent question!

Truth is a highly ambiguous concept in our everyday language. I would say truth as a basic principle for SoA means actually intellectual honesty - never being self-satisfied in what one has achieved but always trying to accept that further experience and thinking can change one´s views. When it comes to truth as a theoretical concept, we have different views regarding that in SoA. In my view religion/spirituality has very little to do with truth in the sense of facts. Evidentialist philosophy which equates the scientific and religious conceptions of truth is certainly popular, but to me it seems utterly misguided. The more I have thought what spirituality is ultimately about the more I come to the conclusion that it is a positive answer to the existentialistic question "does life have a meaning?", or put in other words "is there a God?". I´m quite convinced it is misguided to conceive this question as a question of fact. Facts are not entirely irrelevant to it, but the lawfulness and richness of life does not speak a one bit for theism unless one is already prone to it, and the same applies to advocating atheism because of all the evil in the world. This question is not about what the world factually is but about how one approaches it. Religious conception of truth is more about experience than neutrally knowing that something is the case.
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Nefastos
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Re: Truth

Postby Nefastos » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:46 am

Wyrmfang wrote:An excellent question!


Indeed, this is important.

Wyrmfang wrote:I would say truth as a basic principle for SoA means actually intellectual honesty - never being self-satisfied in what one has achieved but always trying to accept that further experience and thinking can change one´s views.


Agreed. "Truth" as an ideal is "truthfulness", the thirst after truth. It demands very fundamental sincerity, honesty & ability to open up one's mind over & over again.

Wyrmfang wrote:In my view religion/spirituality has very little to do with truth in the sense of facts. (...) Religious conception of truth is more about experience than neutrally knowing that something is the case.


I think most if not all of the members of the Star of Azazel find themselves between the polar opposites of the thoughts of brother Wyrmfang and me, when it comes to this question of "facts". Personally I have at least as many "proven facts" in my life that belong to the side of religion or practical occultism (metaphysics, magic, psychicism) than those that belong to the field of science. But that kind of approach is certainly not needed for to operate in the brotherhood, as many if not most of the brethren more or less disagree with me concerning these things.

thelostcoin wrote:To further that idea is the perfect religion the complete proven explanation of everything that exists (science complete)?


Occultism is not meant to be "proven" in the same way as science is: it ultimately operates with different kind of factual, fundamental experience. This paradigm can, on the other hand, be seen as a "religious" choice. My philosophical argument to this is: so is the paradigm of science. There are no "facts" which could be proven without first partaking to the paradigm of fact-producement. It is our Zeitgeist that makes us to think that modern science is neutral & that in a way it bypasses philosophy, where it actually takes a philosophical stance or an aspect of practical philosophy.

It is over this question that we have wrestled with brother Wyrmfang in many dozens of pages in the Finnish forum over the years. :lol:
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Heith
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Re: Truth

Postby Heith » Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:35 pm

Welcome to the forum and thank you for a very relevant question.

My approach in my studies is theistic, and I do think Nefastos summed up my view quite well.

I view religious approach as a possible means to reach truth; but I would like to stress that truth can not (in my opinion) be found in exoteric religious practices and ideas such as going to the church every Sunday out of habit. Embarking on a journey of continued religious practise can on the other hand greatly improve one's understanding (such as daily meditation or devotional prayer).

I do, however, think philosophical or scientific approach as equally possible for reaching truth. In the end, I believe, it boils down to a person's temperament and the way they are best able to understand the world/universe/metaphysic concepts. For me, this is most naturally approachable via artistic or/and theistic practise (as these are woven together and can not be taken apart). Naturally for someone else a different approach works better. Precisely for this reason we have different aspects within the brotherhood, each which approaches studies in a slightly different light. (Serpent, Stone, Eye or on the Esoteric side Red, White and Black)

I do not view art, religion, science or philosophy as the only way for reaching the goal of uncovering truth but they all try and shape the nature of it. Let's say that it's like four people chasing a sheep. They all have equal possibility for catching the sheep, but depending of conditions outside themselves and the sheep, sometimes some come closer than the others. The best way for catching the sheep is team work, which is something I'd like to think that we in Star of Azazel are trying to achieve.

Language becomes soon rather limiting when trying to discuss esoteric things. Not because they are secrets, but because they can not really be spoken about as there are no proper words. This is quite a familiar experience for me, as I find it difficult to explain my idea as I feel and see them rather than think them. Regardless of this, brave attempts must be made and perhaps one day language, among our other tools develops enough to express these things.

There's one point that I think important though, despite it perhaps being off-topic. Sometimes people adopt a rude attitude under the cloak of "being truthful"; aka they feel entitled to say whatever because what they say is "the truth". This in my opinion is not being truthful but egoistic. And even if we would come to learn things they should be spoken about sparingly and in the right context. Not because they are secrets, but because esotericism is potentially very harmful and if a person becomes exposed to things they can not process, the path easily begins to slope down. This is something that should be considered when discussing esoteric things, as much harm can come via poorly placed or unclear words.

EDIT: misleading typo
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Sebomai
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Re: Truth

Postby Sebomai » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:21 pm

Frater Nefastos and Soror Heith both expressed my thoughts so accurately and succinctly, that I am. Of sure I can add anything except my agreement. Particularly Soror Heith. Truth is more a pursuit and a path than a destination. I'm not sure a human mind is capable of actually grasping Truth. The cosmos and anything that lies beyond what we know as this cosmos are so vast and unfathomable, that truly comprehending Truth may be beyond the scope of the meat in our skulls. I feel like our Spirits can intuit and sense Truth but perhaps not verbally or rationally conceptualize it and in this lies the value of spirituality and esoteric religious practice. It enables one to see glimmers of Truth and, aided by Science and Philosophy and Art, maybe the various categories of our mind can surround Truth for a time, and have smaller or larger epiphanies of the Nature of Truth.
thelostcoin
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Re: Truth

Postby thelostcoin » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:39 pm

Thank you everyone for your response! I had some further questions.

Is there a difference between truth and fact?

I think meditation is a great example of science and religion interacting. There seems to be numerous scientific studies about meditation and they are beginning to describe what is happening during meditation. Does this process itself affect the religious aspects of meditation? I do not think so but I would like to hear other people's opinions.

What I understood from what a couple of you have said is that religion does not seek scientific justification because you are working for a different set of goals than science.
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Nefastos
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Re: Truth

Postby Nefastos » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:55 am

thelostcoin wrote:I had some further questions.

Is there a difference between truth and fact?


I think that these two can be interpreted as the spiritual & concrete (physical, material, empiristical) sides of the question. Truth as an idea is spiritual, and it necessarily belongs to the non-material part of psyche (theosophical "manas"). Fact is something that is "verified" by bringing it to the realm of physical experience (which in mind is perceived by "kâma manas", the form of intellect that operates with the results of sensory data).

Wikipedia reminds us:

The word fact derives from the Latin factum, and was first used in English with the same meaning: "a thing done or performed", a use that is now obsolete. The common usage of "something that has really occurred or is the case" dates from the middle of the sixteenth century.


Our modern culture's idea of truth as something that is bound to tangible experience is so fundamental to us that it might be sometimes hard to even remember that there are distinct cultural roots where it has grown & still grows, namely, the idea that the West (most of all the Greco-Roman cultures, which are very near & visible to us even today) has built is fundamentally different to - for example - those of the Far East, Hindu, or Buddhistic philosophy. In the latter, there has been fundamental & consuming search after truth, but in "facts" in our later sense of the word people do not necessarily believe at all, because the whole structure of metaphysics is fundamentally different. Thus the Roman root for the word is important to consider.

thelostcoin wrote:There seems to be numerous scientific studies about meditation and they are beginning to describe what is happening during meditation. Does this process itself affect the religious aspects of meditation? I do not think so but I would like to hear other people's opinions.


I don't see that any scientifical explanation of meditation actually explains it, rather than opening one small window to see in what way the energies operate within the brain matrix. In Fosforos I wrote briefly about this brain–spirit -connection: how the former is a receptacle for the latter.

thelostcoin wrote:What I understood from what a couple of you have said is that religion does not seek scientific justification because you are working for a different set of goals than science.


That's correct.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Heith
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Re: Truth

Postby Heith » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:08 pm

thelostcoin wrote: What I understood from what a couple of you have said is that religion does not seek scientific justification because you are working for a different set of goals than science.
Yes, this is my personal view as well. Some of the things I have experienced are things that I can not prove to anyone but I have come to consider them as valid and real experiences nevertheless. Their value is not diminished because I can not prove that they exist, or measure them. Perhaps one day things that are now considered "otherwordly" may be measured and proven to exist factually as entities, or perhaps as something our brain creates -and in the case of the latter, this would not in my opinion undermine the significance of an experience but rather show what fantastic construction the brain is. Which obviously would only fuel up my theistic view, heh.

Words are slightly slippery when discussing this kind of things. For example, my worldview is shamanistic so I believe in let's say, the great spirit. Everything has a spirit, and is a part of a spirit, and moves because spirits move- what then is energy? In my view it is synonymous to spirit, but I rather call it spirit than energy because of the tone and feeling of the word "spirit" which underlines the holy nature of it and that it may have a will of its own albeit one that differs from the way we think and are. I believe in this, because of my observations of nature and the accurate shapes and intelligence that are able to form; for example flowers and snail shells can be very mathematically accurate.

As to your question about meditation I can't really answer as I don't meditate, but I do trance work sometimes which is not quite the same but I guess goes on a similar field. I know that it has been proven that shaman's drum sound alters brain waves. To me this fact doesn't really add anything as I already knew it does from experience.
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Re: Truth

Postby Kenazis » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:30 pm

thelostcoin wrote:I think meditation is a great example of science and religion interacting. There seems to be numerous scientific studies about meditation and they are beginning to describe what is happening during meditation. Does this process itself affect the religious aspects of meditation? I do not think so but I would like to hear other people's opinions..
I do not think so either. I see the cause and effect other way around (at least as much) than the scientific studies. When studying scientifically meditation, the cause is physio-chemical activity and the effect is altered states. I see the cause being altered state that’s effect is changes in brain-matter etc. Of course not 100% black and white, but more as a two-way relationship between mind and matter. For me the scientific studies of meditation doesn’t affect the spiritual aspect of practice. Also I’m not so much interested these scientific studies myself even I meditate almost daily and see nothing, but good things in these studies. If I have an experience that meditation is good for me, then the scientific studies to support that doesn’t mean much.
"In darkness let me dwell, The ground shall sorrow be..."
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Jiva
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Re: Truth

Postby Jiva » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:22 pm

thelostcoin wrote:Is there a difference between truth and fact?
I may as well preface this by saying I basically agree with Wyrmfang, but I also think the above quote highlights how pervasive scientific terminology is – often without people being conscious of it – and also how it’s frequently misunderstood. The philosophy of the scientific method is simply to challenge theories and indeed ‘facts’, ‘truths’, ‘laws’ etc. to revise and enhance or simply to discredit and point in other directions. I think people often assume that scientific truths are equivalent to the absolute, unchanging truths of doctrinal religion because of how they are sometimes counterpointed in debates between religious and atheist activists, where science is often equated with atheism.
thelostcoin wrote:I think meditation is a great example of science and religion interacting. There seems to be numerous scientific studies about meditation and they are beginning to describe what is happening during meditation. Does this process itself affect the religious aspects of meditation? I do not think so but I would like to hear other people's opinions.
The science behind meditation and actually religious belief in general is something I find very interesting. But I think drawing any religious conclusions from the science regarding this is premature to say the least. Conclusions can be made regarding what is happening to a person’s body, but not the thoughts (or lack thereof) in their mind and how this is contextualised after (or indeed before) the fact.
thelostcoin wrote:As science describes more and more of the world, the truths from a scientific perspective are growing. Do these truths leave the realm of religion? Or is religion the combination of the scientific truths and the current set of 'unknowable truths' that are the traditional realm of religion? To further that idea is the perfect religion the complete proven explanation of everything that exists (science complete)?
Well, I would consider a complete, proven explanation of everything similar to the entropy of the Abrahamic God’s Garden of Eden (and later Heaven); the sterile existence of a demiurge; a totally controlled environment where nothing really happens.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'

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